Four new horned frogs discovered by Delhi University team

A team of biologists from Delhi University, University College Dublin (Ireland) and the National Museum (UK) have discovered four new species of horned frogs from the Himalayan regions of Northeast India. The team also comprised S D Biju from DU’s Department of Environmental Studies, known as the ‘Frogman of India’.

PhD research work carried out by Stephen Mahony at DU under Biju, as well as at UCD under Professor Emma Telling, led to the discovery. Horned frogs get their name from the “fleshy horn-like projection on the upper eyelids of some species”, and were discovered in the forests of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

The scientists named the four new Indian species as Himalayan horned frog (Megophrys himalayana); the Garo white-lipped horned frog (Megophrys oreocrypta); the Yellow spotted white-lipped horned frog (Megophrys flavipunctata); and the Giant Himalayan horned frog (Megophrys periosa). The study was published on Monday as a monograph in the scientific journal Zootaxa.

The scientists said the frogs vary in size — yellow spotted white-lipped horned frog measures about 5.7-7.5 cm and is the smallest, while the Giant Himalayan horned frog measures about 7.1 to 11.2 cm, making it the “largest of the 15 horned frog species now known to occur in Northeast India”.

Professor S D Biju said Northeast India was “rich in amphibian diversity, but despite being part of two globally recognized biodiversity hotspots (Himalayas and Indo-Burma), this region is neglected as compared to the Western Ghats hotspot in southern India”.

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